The following are the contents of the sixth book of the Refutation of all Heresies:—
What the opinions are that are attempted (to be established) by Simon, and that his doctrine derives its force from the (lucubrations) of magicians and poets.
And what are the opinions of Secundus, and Ptolemaeus, and Heracleon, as persons also who themselves advanced the same doctrines as the philosophers among the Greeks, but enunciated them in different phraseology.
And what are the suppositions put forward by Marcus and Colarbasus, and that some of them devoted their attention to magical arts and the Pythagorean numbers.
Whatever opinions, then, were entertained by those who derived the first principles (of their doctrine) from the serpent, and in process of time deliberately brought forward into public notice their tenets, we have explained in the book preceding this, (and) which is the fifth of the Refutation of Heresies. But now also I shall not be silent as regards the opinions of (heresiarchs) who follow these (Ophites in succession); nay, not one (speculation) will I leave unrefuted, if it is possible to remember all (their tenets), and the secret orgies of these (heretics) which one may fairly style orgies,— for they who propagate such audacious opinions are not far distant from the anger (of God),— that I may avail myself of the assistance of etymology.
It seems, then, expedient likewise to explain now the opinions of Simon, a native of Gitta, a village of Samaria; and we shall also prove that his successors, taking a starting-point from him, have endeavoured (to establish) similar opinions under a change of name. This Simon being an adept in sorceries, both making a mockery of many, partly according to the art of Thrasymedes, in the manner in which we have explained above, and partly also by the assistance of demons perpetrating his villany, attempted to deify himself. (But) the man was a (mere) cheat, and full of folly, and the Apostles reproved him in the Acts. Acts 8:9-24 With much greater wisdom and moderation than Simon, did Apsethus the Libyan, inflamed with a similar wish, endeavour to have himself considered a god in Libya, And inasmuch as his legendary system does not present any wide divergence from the inordinate desire of that silly Simon, it seems expedient to furnish an explanation of it, as one worthy of the attempt made by this man.
Apsethus the Libyan inordinately longed to become a god; but when, after repeated intrigues, he altogether failed to accomplish his desire, he nevertheless wished to appear to have become a god; and he did at all events appear, as time wore on, to have in reality become a god. For the foolish Libyans were accustomed to sacrifice unto him as to some divine power, supposing that they were yielding credence to a voice that came down from above, from heaven. For, collecting into one and the same cage a great number of birds—parrots—he shut them up. Now there are very many parrots throughout Libya, and very distinctly these imitate the human voice. This man, having for a time nourished the birds, was in the habit of teaching them to say,
Apsethus is a god. After, however, the birds had practised this for a long period, and were accustomed to the utterance of that which he thought, when said, would make it supposed that Apsethus was a god, then, opening the habitation (of the birds), he let forth the parrots, each in a different direction. While the birds, however, were on the wing, their sound went out into all Libya, and the expressions of these reached as far as the Hellenic country. And thus the Libyans, being astonished at the voice of the birds, and not perceiving the knavery perpetrated by Apsethus, held Apsethus to be a god. Some one, however, of the Greeks, by accurate examination, perceiving the trick of the supposed god, by means of those same parrots not only refutes, but also utterly destroys, that boastful and tiresome fellow. Now the Greek, by confining many of the parrots, taught them anew to say,
Apsethus, having caged us, compelled us to say, Apsethus is a god. But having heard of the recantation of the parrots, the Libyans, coming together, all unanimously decided on burning Apsethus.
In this way we must think concerning Simon the Magician, so that we may compare him unto the Libyan, far sooner than unto Him who, though made man, was in reality God. If, however, the assertion of this likeness is in itself accurate, and the sorcerer was the subject of a passion similar to Apsethus, let us endeavour to teach anew the parrots of Simon, that Christ, who stood, stands, and will stand, (that is, was, is, and is to come,) was not Simon. But (Jesus) was man, offspring of the seed of a woman, born of blood and the will of the flesh, as also the rest (of humanity). And that these things are so, we shall easily prove as the discussion proceeds.
Now Simon, both foolishly and knavishly paraphrasing the law of Moses, makes his statements (in the manner following): For when Moses asserts that
God is a burning and consuming fire, Deuteronomy 4:24 taking what is said by Moses not in its correct sense, he affirms that fire is the originating principle of the universe. (But Simon) does not consider what the statement is which is made, namely, that it is not that God is a fire, but a burning and consuming fire, (thereby) not only putting a violent sense upon the actual law of Moses, but even plagiarizing from Heraclitus the Obscure. And Simon denominates the originating principle of the universe an indefinite power, expressing himself thus:
This is the treatise of a revelation of (the) voice and name (recognisable) by means of intellectual apprehension of the Great Indefinite Power. Wherefore it will be sealed, (and) kept secret, (and) hid, (and) will repose in the habitation, at the foundation of which lies the root of all things. And he asserts that this man who is born of blood is (the aforesaid) habitation, and that in him resides an indefinite power, which he affirms to be the root of the universe.
Now the indefinite power which is fire, constitutes, according to Simon, not any uncompounded (essence, in conformity with the opinion of those who) assert that the four elements are simple, and who have (therefore) likewise imagined that fire, (which is one of the four,) is simple. But (this is far from being the case): for there is, (he maintains,) a certain twofold nature of fire; and of this twofold (nature) he denominates one part a something secret, and another a something manifest, and that the secret are hidden in the manifest portions of the fire, and that the manifest portions of the fire derive their being from its secret (portions). This, however, is what Aristotle denominates by (the expressions)
energy, or (what) Plato (styles)
sensible. And the manifest portion of the fire comprises all things in itself, whatsoever any one might discern, or even whatever objects of the visible creation he may happen to overlook. But the entire secret (portion of the fire) which one may discern is cognised by intellect, and evades the power of the senses; or one fails to observe it, from want of a capacity for that particular sort of perception. In general, however, inasmuch as all existing things fall under the categories, namely, of what are objects of Sense, and what are objects of Intellect, and as for the denomination of these (Simon) employs the terms secret and manifest; it may, (I say, in general,) be affirmed that the fire, (I mean) the super-celestial (fire), is a treasure, as it were a large tree, just such a one as in a dream was seen by Nabuchodonosor, out of which all flesh is nourished. And the manifest portion of the fire he regards as the stem, the branches, the leaves, (and) the external rind which overlaps them. All these (appendages), he says, of the Great Tree being kindled, are made to disappear by reason of the blaze of the all-devouring fire. The fruit, however, of the tree, when it is fully grown, and has received its own form, is deposited in a granary, not (flung) into the fire. For, he says, the fruit has been produced for the purpose of being laid in the storehouse, whereas the chaff that it may be delivered over to the fire. (Now the chaff) is stem, (and is) generated not for its own sake, but for that of the fruit.
And this, he says, is what has been written in Scripture:
For the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth is the house of Israel, and the man of Judah is His beloved plant. If, however, the man of Judah (is) the beloved plant, it has been proved, he says, that there is not any other tree but that man. But concerning the secretion and dissolution of this (tree), Scripture, he says, has spoken sufficiently. And as regards instruction for those who have been fashioned after the image (of him), that statement is enough which is made (in Scripture), that
all flesh is grass, and all the glory of flesh, as it were, a flower of grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls; but the word of the Lord abides for ever. The word of the Lord, he says, is that word which is produced in the mouth, and (is) a Logos, but nowhere else exists there a place of generation.
Now, to express myself briefly, inasmuch as the fire is of this description, according to Simon, and since all things are visible and invisible, (and) in like manner resonant and not resonant, numerable and not subjects of numeration; he denominates in the Great Announcement a perfect intelligible (entity), after such a mode, that each of those things which, existing indefinitely, may be infinitely comprehended, both speaks, and understands, and acts in such a manner as Empedocles speaks of:—
For, he says, he is in the habit of considering that all these portions of the fire, both visible and invisible, are possessed of perception and a share of intelligence. The world, therefore, that which is generated, was produced from the unbegotten fire. It began, however, to exist, he says, according to the following manner. He who was begotten from the principle of that fire took six roots, and those primary ones, of the originating principle of generation. And, he says that the roots were made from the fire in pairs, which roots he terms
Reflection. And that in these six roots resides simultaneously the entire indefinite power potentially, (however) not actually. And this indefinite power, he says, is he who stood, stands, and will stand. Wherefore, whenever he may be made into an image, inasmuch as he exists in the six powers, he will exist (there) substantially, potentially, quantitively, (and) completely. (And he will be a power) one and the same with the unbegotten and indefinite power, and not labouring under any greater deficiency than that unbegotten and unalterable (and) indefinite power. If, however, he may continue only potentially in the six powers, and has not been formed into an image, he vanishes, he says, and is destroyed in such a way as the grammatical or geometrical capacity in man's soul. For when the capacity takes unto itself an art, a light of existent things is produced; but when (the capacity) does not take unto itself (an art), unskilfulness and ignorance are the results; and just as when (the power) was non-existent, it perishes along with the expiring man.
And of those six powers, and of the seventh which co-exists with them, the first pair, Mind and Intelligence, he calls Heaven and Earth. And that one of these, being of male sex, beholds from above and takes care of his partner. but that the earth receives below the rational fruits, akin to the earth, which are borne down from the heaven. On this account, he says, the Logos, frequently looking towards the things that are being generated from Mind and Intelligence, that is, from Heaven and Earth, exclaims,
Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, because the Lord has spoken. I have brought forth children, and exalted them; and these have rejected me. Now, he who utters these words, he says, is the seventh power— he who stood, stands, and will stand; for he himself is cause of those beauteous objects of creation which Moses commended, and said that they were very good. But Voice and Name (the second of the three pairs) are Sun and Moon; and Ratiocination and Reflection (the third of the three pairs) are Air and Water. And in all these is intermingled and blended, as I have declared, the great, the indefinite, the (self-) existing power.
When, therefore, Moses has spoken of
the six days in which God made heaven and earth, and rested on the seventh from all His works, Genesis 2:2 Simon, in a manner already specified, giving (these and other passages of Scripture) a different application (from the one intended by the holy writers), deifies himself. When, therefore, (the followers of Simon) affirm that there are three days begotten before sun and moon, they speak enigmatically of Mind and Intelligence, that is, Heaven and Earth, and of the seventh power, (I mean) the indefinite one. For these three powers are produced antecedent to all the rest. But when they say,
He begot me prior to all the Ages, Proverbs 8:22-24 such statements, he says, are alleged to hold good concerning the seventh power. Now this seventh power, which was a power existing in the indefinite power, which was produced prior to all the Ages, this is, he says, the seventh power, respecting which Moses utters the following words:
And the Spirit of God was wafted over the water; that is, says (the Simonian), the Spirit which contains all things in itself, and is an image of the indefinite power about which Simon speaks—
an image from an incorruptible form, that alone reduces all things into order. For this power that is wafted over the water, being begotten, he says, from an incorruptible form alone, reduces all things into order. When, therefore, according to these (heretics), there ensued some such arrangement, and (one) similar (to it) of the world, the Deity, he says, proceeded to form man, taking clay from the earth. And He formed him not uncompounded, but twofold, according to (His own) image and likeness.Genesis 2:7 Now the image is the Spirit that is wafted over the water; and whosoever is not fashioned into a figure of this, will perish with the world, inasmuch as he continues only potentially, and does exist actually. This, he says, is what has been spoken,
that we should not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:32 If one, however, be made into the figure of (the Spirit), and be generated from an indivisible point, as it has been written in the Announcement, (such a one, albeit) small, will become great. But what is great will continue unto infinite and unalterable duration, as being that which no longer is subject to the conditions of a generated entity.
How then, he says, and in what manner, does God form man? In Paradise; for so it seems to him. Grant Paradise, he says, to be the womb; and that this is a true (assumption) the Scripture will teach, when it utters the words,
I am He who forms you in your mother's womb. Jeremiah 1:5 For this also he wishes to have been written so. Moses, he says, resorting to allegory, has declared Paradise to be the womb, if we ought to rely on his statement. If, however, God forms man in his mother's womb— that is, in Paradise— as I have affirmed, let Paradise be the womb, and Edem the after-birth,
a river flowing forth from Edem, for the purpose of irrigating Paradise, Genesis 2:10 (meaning by this) the navel. This navel, he says, is separated into four principles; for on either side of the navel are situated two arteries, channels of spirit, and two veins channels of blood. But when, he says, the umbilical vessels proceed forth from Edem, that is, the caul in which the foetus is enveloped grows into the (foetus) that is being formed in the vicinity of the epigastrium,— (now) all in common denominate this a navel—these two veins through which the blood flows, and is conveyed from Edem. the after-birth, to what are styled the gates of the liver; (these veins, I say,) nourish the foetus. But the arteries which we have spoken of as being channels of spirit, embrace the bladder on both sides, around the pelvis, and connect it with the great artery, called the aorta, in the vicinity of the dorsal ridge. And in this way the spirit, making its way through the ventricles to the heart, produces a movement of the foetus. For the infant that was formed in Paradise neither receives nourishment through the mouth, nor breathes through the nostrils: for as it lay in the midst of moisture, at its feet was death, if it attempted to breathe; for it would (thus) have been drawn away from moisture, and perished (accordingly). But (one may go further than this); for the entire (foetus) is bound tightly round by a covering styled the caul, and is nourished by a navel, and it receives through the (aorta), in the vicinity of the dorsal ridge, as I have stated, the substance of the spirit.
The river, therefore, he says, which proceeds out of Edem is divided into four principles, four channels— that is, into four senses, belonging to the creature that is being born, viz., seeing, smelling, taste, and touch; for the child formed in Paradise has these senses only. This, he says, is the law which Moses appointed; and in reference to this very law, each of his books has been written, as the inscriptions evince. The first book is Genesis. The inscription of the book is, he says, sufficient for a knowledge of the universe. For this is (equivalent in meaning with) generation, (that is,) vision, into which one section of the river is divided. For the world was seen by the power of vision. Again, the inscription of the second book is Exodus. For what has been produced, passing through the Red Sea, must come into the wilderness—now they say he calls the Red (Sea) blood,— and taste bitter water. For bitter, he says, is the water which is (drunk) after (crossing) the Red Sea; which (water) is a path to be trodden, that leads (us) to a knowledge in (this) life of (our) toilsome and bitter lot. Altered, however, by Moses— that is, by the Logos— that bitter (water) becomes sweet. And that this is so we may hear in common from all who express themselves according to the (sentiments of the) poets:—
Dark at the root, like milk, the flower,
Gods call it 'Moly,' and hard for mortal men
To dig, but power divine is boundless.
What is spoken by the Gentiles is sufficient for a knowledge of the universe to those who have ears (capable) of hearing. For whosoever, he says, has tasted this fruit, is not the only one that is changed by Circe into a beast; but also, employing the power of such a fruit, he forms anew and moulds afresh, and re-entices into that primary peculiar character of theirs, those that already have been altered into beasts. But a faithful man, and beloved by that sorceress, is, he says, discovered through that milk-like and divine fruit. In like manner, the third book is Leviticus, which is smelling, or respiration. For the entire of that book is (an account) of sacrifices and offerings. Where, however, there is a sacrifice, a certain savour of the fragrance arises from the sacrifice through the incense-offerings; and in regard of this fragrance (the sense of) smelling is a test. Numbers, the fourth of the books, signifies taste, where the discourse is operative. For, from the fact of its speaking all things, it is denominated by numerical arrangement. But Deuteronomy, he says, is written in reference to the (sense of) touch possessed by the child that is being formed. For as touch, by seizing the things that are seen by the other senses, sums them up and ratifies them, testing what is rough, or warm, or clammy, (or cold); so the fifth book of the law constitutes a summary of the four books preceding this.
All things, therefore, he says, when unbegotten, are in us potentially, not actually, as the grammatical or geometrical (art). If, then, one receives proper instruction and teaching, and (where consequently) what is bitter will be altered into what is sweet—that is, the spears into pruning-hooks, and the swords into plough-shares, Isaiah 2:4 — there will not be chaff and wood begotten for fire, but mature fruit, fully formed, as I said, equal and similar to the unbegotten and indefinite power. If, however, a tree continues alone, not producing fruit fully formed, it is utterly destroyed. For somewhere near, he says, is the axe (which is laid) at the roots of the tree. Every tree, he says, which does not produce good fruit, is hewn down and cast into fire.
According to Simon, therefore, there exists that which is blessed and incorruptible in a latent condition in every one— (that is,) potentially, not actually; and that this is He who stood, stands, and is to stand. He has stood above in unbegotten power. He stands below, when in the stream of waters He was begotten in a likeness. He is to stand above, beside the blessed indefinite power, if He be fashioned into an image. For, he says, there are three who have stood; and except there were three Aeons who have stood, the unbegotten one is not adorned. (Now the unbegotten one) is, according to them, wafted over the water, and is re-made, according to the similitude (of an eternal nature), a perfect celestial (being), in no (quality of) intelligence formed inferior to the unbegotten power: that is what they say— I and you, one; you, before me; I, that which is after you. This, he says, is one power divided above (and) below, generating itself, making itself grow, seeking itself, finding itself, being mother of itself, father of itself, sister of itself, spouse of itself, daughter of itself, son of itself, mother, father, a unit, being a root of the entire circle of existence.
And that, he says, the originating principle of the generation of things begotten is from fire, he discerns after some such method as the following. Of all things, (i.e.) of whatsoever there is a generation, the beginning of the desire of the generation is from fire. Wherefore the desire after mutable generation is denominated
to be inflamed. For when the fire is one, it admits of two conversions. For, he says, blood in the man being both warm and yellow, is converted as a figured flame into seed; but in the woman this same blood is converted into milk. And the conversion of the male becomes generation, but the conversion of the female nourishment for the foetus. This, he says, is
the flaming sword, which turned to guard the way of the tree of life. Genesis 3:24 For the blood is converted into seed and milk, and this power becomes mother and father— father of those things that are in process of generation, and the augmentation of those things that are being nourished; (and this power is) without further want, (and) self-sufficient. And, he says, the tree of life is guarded, as we have stated, by the brandished flaming sword. And it is the seventh power, that which (is produced) from itself, (and) which contains all (powers, and) which reposes in the six powers. For if the flaming sword be not brandished, that good tree will be destroyed, and perish. If, however, these be converted into seed and milk, the principle that resides in these potentially, and is in possession of a proper position, in which is evolved a principle of souls, (such a principle,) beginning, as it were, from a very small spark, will be altogether magnified, and will increase and become a power indefinite (and) unalterable, (equal and similar) to an unalterable age, which no longer passes into the indefinite age.
Therefore, according to this reasoning, Simon became confessedly a god to his silly followers, as that Libyan, namely, Apsethus— begotten, no doubt, and subject to passion, when he may exist potentially, but devoid of propensions. (And this too, though born from one having pro-pensions, and uncreated though born) from one that is begotten, when He may be fashioned into a figure, and, becoming perfect, may come forth from two of the primary powers, that is, Heaven and Earth. For Simon expressly speaks of this in the
Revelation after this manner:
To you, then, I address the things which I speak, and (to you) I write what I write. The writing is this: there are two offshoots from all the Aeons, having neither beginning nor end, from one root. And this is a power, viz., Sige, (who is) invisible (and) incomprehensible. And one of these (offshoots) appears from above, which constitutes a great power, (the creative) Mind of the universe, which manages all things, (and is) a male. The other (offshoot), however, is from below, (and constitutes) a great Intelligence, and is a female which produces all things. From whence, ranged in pairs opposite each other, they undergo conjugal union, and manifest an intermediate interval, namely, an incomprehensible air, which has neither beginning nor end. But in this is a father who sustains all things, and nourishes things that have beginning and end. This is he who stood, stands, and will stand, being an hermaphrodite power according to the pre-existent indefinite power, which has neither beginning nor end. Now this (power) exists in isolation. For Intelligence, (that subsists) in unity, proceeded forth from this (power), (and) became two. And that (father) was one, for having in himself this (power) he was isolated, and, however, He was not primal though pre-existent; but being rendered manifest to himself from himself, he passed into a state of duality. But neither was he denominated father before this (power) would style him father. As, therefore, he himself, bringing forward himself by means of himself, manifested unto himself his own peculiar intelligence, so also the intelligence, when it was manifested, did not exercise the function of creation. But beholding him, she concealed the Father within herself, that is, the power; and it is an hermaphrodite power, and an intelligence. And hence it is that they are ranged in pairs, one opposite the other; for power is in no wise different from intelligence, inasmuch as they are one. For from those things that are above is discovered power; and from those below, intelligence. So it is, therefore, that likewise what is manifested from these, being unity, is discovered (to be) duality, an hermaphrodite having the female in itself. This, (therefore,) is Mind (subsisting) in Intelligence; and these are separable one from the other, (though both taken together) are one, (and) are discovered in a state of duality.
Simon then, after inventing these (tenets), not only by evil devices interpreted the writings of Moses in whatever way he wished, but even the (works) of the poets. For also he fastens an allegorical meaning on (the story of) the wooden horse and Helen with the torch, and on very many other (accounts), which he transfers to what relates to himself and to Intelligence, and (thus) furnishes a fictitious explanation of them. He said, however, that this (Helen) was the lost sheep. And she, always abiding among women, confounded the powers in the world by reason of her surpassing beauty. Whence, likewise, the Trojan war arose on her account. For in the Helen born at that time resided this Intelligence; and thus, when all the powers were for claiming her (for themselves), sedition and war arose, during which (this chief power) was manifested to nations. And from this circumstance, without doubt, we may believe that Stesichorus, who had through (some) verses reviled her, was deprived of the use of his eyes; and that, again, when he repented and composed recantations, in which he sung (Helen's) praises, he recovered the power of vision. But the angels and the powers below— who, he says, created the world— caused the transference from one body to another of (Helen's soul); and subsequently she stood on the roof of a house in Tyre, a city of Phoenicia, and on going down there (Simon professed to have) found her. For he stated that, principally for the purpose of searching after this (woman), he had arrived (in Tyre), in order that he might rescue her from bondage. And after having thus redeemed her, he was in the habit of conducting her about with himself, alleging that this (girl) was the lost sheep, and affirming himself to be the Power above all things. But the filthy fellow, becoming enamoured of this miserable woman called Helen, purchased her (as his slave), and enjoyed her person. He, (however,) was likewise moved with shame towards his disciples, and concocted this figment.
But, again, those who become followers of this impostor— I mean Simon the sorcerer— indulge in similar practices, and irrationally allege the necessity of promiscuous intercourse. They express themselves in the manner following:
All earth is earth, and there is no difference where any one sows, provided he does sow. But even they congratulate themselves on account of this indiscriminate intercourse, asserting that this is perfect love, and employing the expressions,
holy of holies, and
sanctify one another. For (they would have us believe) that they are not overcome by the supposed vice, for that they have been redeemed.
And (Jesus), by having redeemed Helen in this way, (Simon says,) has afforded salvation to men through his own peculiar intelligence. For inasmuch as the angels, by reason of their lust for pre-eminence, improperly managed the world, (Jesus Christ) being transformed, and being assimilated to the rulers and powers and angels, came for the restoration (of things). And so (it was that Jesus) appeared as man, when in reality he was not a man. And (so it was) that likewise he suffered— though not actually undergoing suffering, but appearing to the Jews to do so — in Judea as 'Son, 'and in Samaria as 'Father, ' and among the rest of the Gentiles as 'Holy Spirit.' And (Simon alleges) that Jesus tolerated being styled by whichever name (of the three just mentioned) men might wish to call him.
And that the prophets, deriving their inspiration from the world-making angels, uttered predictions (concerning him). Wherefore, (Simon said,) that towards these (prophets) those felt no concern up to the present, who believe in Simon and Helen, and that they do whatsoever they please, as persons free; for they allege that they are saved by grace. For that there is no reason for punishment, even though one shall act wickedly; for such a one is not wicked by nature, but by enactment.
For the angels who created the world made, he says,
whatever enactments they pleased, thinking by such (legislative) words to enslave those who listened to them. But, again, they speak of a dissolution of the world, for the redemption of his own particular adherents.
The disciples, then, of this (Magus), celebrate magical rites, and resort to incantations. And (they profess to) transmit both love-spells and charms, and the demons said to be senders of dreams, for the purpose of distracting whomsoever they please. But they also employ those denominated Paredroi.
And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these. But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one among them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries. This Simon, deceiving many in Samaria by his sorceries, was reproved by the Apostles, and was laid under a curse, as it has been written in the Acts. But he afterwards abjured the faith, and attempted these (aforesaid practices). And journeying as far as Rome, he fell in with the Apostles; and to him, deceiving many by his sorceries, Peter offered repeated opposition. This man, ultimately repairing to ... (and) sitting under a plane tree, continued to give instruction (in his doctrines). And in truth at last, when conviction was imminent, in case he delayed longer, be stated that, if he were buried alive, he would rise the third day. And accordingly, having ordered a trench to be dug by his disciples, he directed himself to be interred there. They, then, executed the injunction given; whereas he remained (in that grave) until this day, for he was not the Christ. This constitutes the legendary system advanced by Simon, and from this Valentinus derived a starting-point (for his own doctrine. This doctrine, in point of fact, was the same with the it Simonian, though Valentinus) denominated under different titles: for
Ecclesia, and Aeons of Valentinus, are confessedly the six roots of Simon, viz.,
Reflection. But since it seems to us that we have sufficiently explained Simon's tissue of legends, let us see what also Valentinus asserts.
The heresy of Valentinus is certainly, then, connected with the Pythagorean and Platonic theory. For Plato, in the Timaeus, altogether derives his impressions from Pythagoras, and therefore Timaeus himself is his Pythagorean stranger. Wherefore, it appears expedient that we should commence by reminding (the reader) of a few points of the Pythagorean and Platonic theory, and that (then we should proceed) to declare the opinions of Valentinus. For even although in the books previously finished by us with so much pains, are contained the opinions advanced by both Pythagoras and Plato, yet at all events I shall not be acting unreasonably, in now also calling to the recollection of the reader. by means of an epitome, the principal heads of the favourite tenets of these (speculators). And this (recapitulation) will facilitate our knowledge of the doctrines of Valentinus, by means of a nearer comparison, and by similarity of composition (of the two systems). For (Pythagoras and Plato) derived these tenets originally from the Egyptians, and introduced their novel opinions among the Greeks. But (Valentinus took his opinions) from these, because, although he has suppressed the truth regarding his obligations to (the Greek philosophers), and in this way has endeavoured to construct a doctrine, (as it were,) peculiarly his own, yet, in point of fact, he has altered the doctrines of those (thinkers) in names only, and numbers, and has adopted a peculiar terminology (of his own). Valentinus has formed his definitions by measures, in order that he may establish an Hellenic heresy, diversified no doubt, but unstable, and not connected with Christ.
The origin, then, from which Plato derived his theory in the Timoeus, is (the) wisdom of the Egyptians. For from this source, by some ancient and prophetical tradition, Solon taught his entire system concerning the generation and destruction of the world, as Plato says, to the Greeks, who were (in knowledge) young children, and were acquainted with no theological doctrine of greater antiquity. In order, therefore, that we may trace accurately the arguments by which Valentinus established his tenets, I shall now explain what are the principles of the philosophy of Pythagoras of Samos,— a philosophy (coupled) with that Silence so celebrated by the Greeks. And next in this manner (I shall elucidate) those (opinions) which Valentinus derives from Pythagoras and Plato, but refers with all solemnity of speech to Christ, and before Christ to the Father of the universe, and to Silence conjoined with the Father.
Pythagoras, then, declared the originating principle of the universe to be the unbegotten monad, and the generated duad, and the rest of the numbers. And he says that the monad it the father of the duad, and the duad the mother of all things that are being begotten— the begotten one (being mother) of the things that arc begotten. And Zaratas, the pupil of Pythagoras, was in the habit of denominating unity a father, and duality a mother. For the duad has been generated from the monad, according to Pythagoras; and the monad is male and primary, but the duad female (and secondary). And from the duad, again, as Pythagoras states, (are generated) the triad and the succeeding numbers up to ten. For Pythagoras is aware that this is the only perfect number— I mean the decade— for that eleven and twelve are an addition and repetition of the decade; not, however, that what is added constitutes the generation of another number. And all solid bodies he generates from incorporeal (essences). For he asserts that an element and principle of both corporeal and incorporeal entities is the point which is indivisible. And from a point, he says, is generated a line, and from a line a surface; and a surface flowing out into a height becomes, he says, a solid body. Whence also the Pythagoreans have a certain object of adjuration, viz., the concord of the four elements. And they swear in these words:—
By him who to our head quaternion gives,
A font that has the roots of everlasting nature.
Now the quaternion is the originating principle of natural and solid bodies, as the monad of intelligible ones. And that likewise the quaternion generates, he says, the perfect number, as in the case of intelligibles (the monad) does the decade, they teach thus. If any, beginning to number, says one, and adds two, then in like manner three, these (together) will be six, and to these (add) moreover four, the entire (sum), in like manner, will be ten. For one, two, three, four, become ten, the perfect number. Thus, he says, the quaternion in every respect imitated the intelligible monad, which was able to generate a perfect number.
There are, then, according to Pythagoras, two worlds: one intelligible, which has the monad for an originating principle; and the other sensible. But of this (latter) is the quaternion having the iota the one tittle,Matthew 5:18 a perfect number. And there likewise is, according to the Pythagoreans, the i, the one tittle, which is chief and most dominant, and enables us to apprehend the substance of those intelligible entities which are capable of being understood through the medium of intellect and of sense. (And in this substance inhere) the nine incorporeal accidents which cannot exist without substance, viz.,
passion. These, then, are the nine accidents (inhering in) substance, and when reckoned with these (substances), contains the perfect number, the i. Wherefore, the universe being divided, as we said, into the intelligible and sensible world, we have also reason from the intelligible (world), in order that by reason we may behold the substance of things that are cognised by intellect, and are incorporeal and divine. But we have, he says, five senses— smelling, seeing, hearing, taste, and touch. Now, by these we arrive at a knowledge of things that are discerned by sense; and so, he says, the sensible is divided from the intelligible world. And that we have for each of these an instrument for attaining knowledge, we perceive from the following consideration. Nothing, he says, of intelligibles can be known to us from sense. For he says neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor any whatsoever of the other senses known that (which is cognised by mind). Neither, again, by reason is it possible to arrive at a knowledge of any of the things discernible by sense. But one must see that a thing is white, and taste that it is sweet, and know by hearing that it is musical or out of tune. And whether any odour is fragrant or disagreeable, is the function of smell, not of reason. It is the same with objects of touch; for anything rough, or soft, or warm, or cold, it is not possible to know by hearing, but (far from it), for touch is the judge of such (sensations). Things being thus constituted, the arrangement of things that have been made and are being made is observed to happen in conformity with numerical (combinations). For in the same manner as, commencing from monad, by an addition of monads or triads, and a collection of the succeeding numbers, we make some one very large complex whole of number; (and) then, again, from an amassed number thus formed by addition, we accomplish, by means of a certain subtraction and re-calculation, a solution of the totality of the aggregate numbers; so likewise he asserts that the world, bound by a certain arithmetical and musical chain, was, by its tension and relaxation, and by addition and subtraction, always and for ever preserved in-corrupt.
The Pythagoreans therefore declare their opinion concerning the continuance of the world in some such manner as this:—
For heretofore it was and will be; never, I ween,
Of both of these will void the age eternal be.
Of these; but what are they? Discord and Love. Now, in their system, Love forms the world incorruptible (and) eternal, as they suppose. For substance and the world are one. Discord, however, separates and puts asunder, and evinces numerous attempts by subdividing to form the world. It is just as if one severs into small parts, and divides arithmetically, the myriad into thousands, and hundreds, and tens; and drachmae into oboli and small farthings. In this manner, he says, Discord severs the substance of the world into animals, plants, metals and things similar to these. And the fabricator of the generation of all things produced is, according to them, Discord; whereas Love, on the other hand, manages and provides for the universe in such a manner that it enjoys permanence. And conducting together into unity the divided and scattered parts of the universe, and leading them forth from their (separate) mode of existence, (Love) unites and adds to the universe, in order that it may enjoy permanence; and it thus constitutes one system. They will not therefore cease—neither Discord dividing the world, nor Love attaching to the world the divided parts. Of some such description as this, so it appears, is the distribution of the world according to Pythagoras. But Pythagoras says that the stars are fragments from the sun, and that the souls of animals are conveyed from the stars; and that these are mortal when they are in the body, just as if buried, as it were, in a tomb: whereas that they rise (out of this world) and become immortal, when we are separated from our bodies. Whence Plato, being asked by some one,
What is philosophy? replied,
It is a separation of soul from body.
Pythagoras, then, became a student of these doctrines likewise, in which he speaks both by enigmas and some such expressions as these:
When you depart from your own (tabernacle), return not; if, however, (you act) not (thus), the Furies, auxiliaries to justice, will overtake you,— denominating the body one's own (tabernacle), and its passions the Furies. When, therefore, he says, you depart, that is, when you go forth from the body, do not earnestly crave for this; but if you are eagerly desirous (for departure), the passions will once more confine you within the body. For these suppose that there is a transition of souls from one body to another, as also Empedocles, adopting the principles of Pythagoras, affirms. For, says he, souls that are lovers of pleasure, as Plato states, if, when they are in the condition of suffering incidental to man, they do not evolve theories of philosophy, must pass through all animals and plants (back) again into a human body. And when (the soul) may form a system of speculation thrice in the same body, (he maintains) that it ascends up to the nature of some kindred star. If, however, (the soul) does not philosophize, (it must pass) through the same (succession of changes once more). He affirms, then, that the soul sometimes may become even mortal, if it is overcome by the Furies, that is, the passions (of the body); and immortal, if it succeeds in escaping the Furies, which are the passions.
But since also we have chosen to mention the sayings darkly expressed by Pythagoras to his disciples by means of symbols, it seems likewise expedient to remind (the reader) of the rest (of his doctrines. And we touch on this subject) on account also of the heresiarchs, who attempt by some method of this description to converse by means of symbols; and these are not their own, but they have, (in propounding them,) taken advantage of expressions employed by the Pythagoreans. Pythagoras then instructs his disciples, addressing them as follows:
Bind up the sack that carries the bedding. (Now,) inasmuch as they who intend going upon a journey tie their clothes into a wallet, to be ready for the road; so, (in like manner,) he wishes his disciples to be prepared, since every moment death is likely to come upon them by surprise. (In this way Pythagoras sought to effect) that (his followers) should labour under no deficiency in the qualifications required in his pupils. Wherefore of necessity he was in the habit, with the dawn of day, of instructing the Pythagoreans to encourage one another to bind up the sack that carries the bedding, that is, to be ready for death.
Do not stir fire with a sword; (meaning,) do not, by addressing him, quarrel with an enraged man; for a person in a passion is like fire, whereas the sword is the uttered expression.
Do not trample on a besom; (meaning,) despise not a small matter.
Plant not a palm tree in a house; (meaning,) foment not discord in a family, for the palm tree is a symbol of battle and slaughter.
Eat not from a stool; (meaning,) do not undertake an ignoble art, in order that you may not be a slave to the body, which is corruptible, but make a livelihood from literature. For it lies within your reach both to nourish the body, and make the soul better.
Don't take a bite out of an uncut loaf; (meaning,) diminish not your possessions, but live on the profit (of them), and guard your substance as an entire loaf. Feed not on beans; (meaning,) accept not the government of a city, for with beans they at that time were accustomed to ballot for their magistrates.
These, then, and such like assertions, the Pythagoreans put forward; and the heretics, imitating these, are supposed by some to utter important truths. The Pythagorean system, however, lays down that the Creator of all alleged existences is the Great Geometrician and Calculator— a sun; and that this one has been fixed in the whole world, just as in the bodies a soul, according to the statement of Plato. For the sun (being of the nature of) fire, resembles the soul, but the earth (resembles the) body. And, separated from fire, there would be nothing visible, nor would there be any object of touch without something solid; but not any solid body exists without earth. Whence the Deity, locating air in the midst, fashioned the body of the universe out of fire and earth. And the Sun, he says, calculates and geometrically measures the world in some such manner as the following: The world is a unity cognizable by sense; and concerning this (world) we now make these assertions. But one who is an adept in the science of numbers, and a geometrician, has divided it into twelve parts. And the names of these parts are as follow: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. Again, he divides each of the twelve parts into thirty parts, and these are days of the month. Again, he divides each part of the thirty parts into sixty small divisions, and (each) of these small (divisions) he subdivides into minute portions, and (these again) into portions still more minute. And always doing this, and not intermitting, but collecting from these divided portions (an aggregate), and constituting it a year; and again resolving and dividing the compound, (the sun) completely finishes the great and everlasting world.
Of some such nature, as I who have accurately examined their systems (have attempted) to state compendiously, is the opinion of Pythagoras and Plato. And from this (system), not from the Gospels, Valentinus, as we have proved, has collected the (materials of) heresy— I mean his own (heresy)— and may (therefore) justly be reckoned a Pythagorean and Platonist, not a Christian. Valentinus, therefore, and Heracleon, and Ptolemaeus, and the entire school of these (heretics), as disciples of Pythagoras and Plato, (and) following these guides, have laid down as e fundamental principle of their doctrine the arithmetical system. For, likewise, according to these (Valentinians), the originating cause of the universe is a Monad, unbegotten, imperishable, incomprehensible, inconceivable, productive, and a cause of the generation of all existent things. And the aforesaid Monad is styled by them Father. There is, however, discoverable among them some considerable diversity of opinion. For some of them, in order that the Pythagorean doctrine of Valentinus may be altogether free from admixture (with other tenets), suppose that the Father is unfeminine, and unwedded, and solitary. But others, imagining it to be impossible that from a male only there could proceed a generation at all of any of those things that have been made to exist, necessarily reckon along with the Father of the universe, in order that he may be a father, Sige as a spouse. But as to Sige, whether at any time she is united in marriage (to the Father) or not, this is a point which we leave them to wrangle about among themselves. We at present, keeping to the Pythagorean principle, which is one, and unwedded, unfeminine, (and) deficient in nothing, shall proceed to give an account of their doctrines, as they themselves inculcate them. There is, says (Valentinus), not anything at all begotten, but the Father is alone unbegotten, not subject to the condition of place, not (subject to the condition of) time, having no counsellor, (and) not being any other substance that could be realized according to the ordinary methods of perception. (The Father,) however, was solitary, subsisting, as they say, in a state of quietude, and Himself reposing in isolation within Himself. When, however, He became productive, it seemed to Him expedient at one time to generate and lead forth the most beautiful and perfect (of those germs of existence) which He possessed within Himself, for (the Father) was not fond of solitariness. For, says he, He was all love, but love is not love except there may be some object of affection. The Father Himself, then, as He was solitary, projected and produced Nous and Aletheia, that is, a duad which became mistress, and origin, and mother of all the Aeons computed by them (as existing) within the Pleroma. Nous and Aletheia being projected from the Father, one capable of continuing generation, deriving existence from a productive being, (Nous) himself likewise, in imitation of the Father, projected Logos and Zoe; and Logos and Zoe project Anthropos and Ecclesia. But Nous and Aletheia, when they beheld that their own offspring had been born productive, returned thanks to the Father of the universe, and offer unto Him a perfect number, viz., ten Aeons. For, he says, Nous and Aletheia could not offer unto the Father a more perfect (one) than this number. For the Father, who is perfect, ought to be celebrated by a perfect number, and ten is a perfect number, because this is first of those (numbers) that are formed by plurality, (and therefore) perfect. The Father, however, being more perfect, because being alone unbegotten, by means of the one primary conjugal union of Nous and Aletheia, found means of projecting all the roots of existent things.
Logos himself also, and Zoe, then saw that Nous and Aletheia had celebrated the Father of the universe by a perfect number; and Logos himself likewise with Zoe wished to magnify their own father and mother, Nous and Aletheia. Since, however, Nous and Aletheia were begotten, and did not possess paternal (and) perfect uncreatedness, Logos and Zoe do not glorify Nous their father with a perfect number, but far from it, with an imperfect one. For Logos and Zoe offer twelve Aeons unto Nous and Aletheia. For, according to Valentinus, these— namely, Nous and Aletheia, Logos and Zoe, Anthropos and Ecclesia— have been the primary roots of the Aeons. But there are ten the Aeons proceeding from Nous and Aletheia, and twelve from Logos and Zoe— twenty and eight in all. And to these (ten) they give these following denominations: Bythus and Mixis, Ageratus and Henosis, Autophyes and Hedone, Acinetus and Syncrasis, Monogenes and Macaria. These are ten Aeons whom some say (have been projected) by Nous and Aletheia, but some by Logos and Zoe. Others, however, affirm that the twelve (Aeons have been projected) by Anthropos and Ecclesia, while others by Logos and Zoe. And upon these they bestow these following names: Paracletus and Pistis, Patricus and Elpis, Metricus and Agape, Aeinous and Synesis, Ecclesiasticus and Macariotes, Theletus and Sophia. But of the twelve, the twelfth and youngest of all the twenty-eight Aeons, being a female, and called Sophia, observed the multitude and power of the besetting Aeons, and hurried back into the depth of the Father. And she perceived that all the rest of the Aeons, as being begotten, generate by conjugal intercourse. The Father, on the other hand, alone, without copulation, has produced (an offspring). She wished to emulate the Father, and to produce (offspring) of herself without a marital partner, that she might achieve a work in no wise inferior to (that of) the Father. (Sophia, however,) was ignorant that the Unbegotten One, being an originating principle of the universe, as well as root and depth and abyss, alone possesses the power of self-generation. But Sophia, being begotten, and born after many more (Aeons), is not able to acquire possession of the power inherent in the Unbegotten One. For in the Unbegotten One, he says, all things exist simultaneously, but in the begotten (Aeons) the female is projective of substance, and the male is formative of the substance which is projected by the female. Sophia, therefore, prepared to project that only which she was capable (of projecting), viz., a formless and undigested substance. And this, he says, is what Moses asserts:
The earth was invisible, and unfashioned. This (substance) is, he says, the good (and) the heavenly Jerusalem, into which God has promised to conduct the children of Israel, saying,
I will bring you into a land flowing with milk and honey.
Ignorance, therefore, having arisen within the Pleroma in consequence of Sophia, and shapelessness in consequence of the offspring of Sophia, confusion arose in the Pleroma. (For all) the Aeons that were begotten (became overwhelmed with apprehension, imagining) that in like manner formless and incomplete progenies of the Aeons should be generated; and that some destruction, at no distant period, should l at length seize upon the Aeons. All the Aeons, then, betook themselves to supplication of the Father, that he would tranquillize the sorrowing Sophia; for she continued weeping and bewailing on account of the abortion produced by her—for so they, term it. The Father, then, compassionating the tears of Sophia, and accepting the supplication of the Aeons, orders a further projection. For he did not, (Valentinus) says, himself project, but Nous and Aletheia (projected) Christ and the Holy Spirit for the restoration of Form, and the destruction of the abortion, and (for) the consolation and cessation of the groans of Sophia. And thirty Aeons came into existence along with Christ and the Holy Spirit. Some of these (Valentinians) wish that this should be a triacontad of Aeons, whereas others desire that Sige should exist along with the Father, and that the Aeons should be reckoned along with them.
Christ, therefore, being additionally projected, and the Holy Spirit, by Nous and Aletheia, immediately this abortion of Sophia, (which was) shapeless, (and) born of herself only, and generated without conjugal intercourse, separates from the entire of the Aeons, lest the perfect Aeons, beholding this (abortion), should be disturbed by reason of its shapelessness. In order, then, that the shapelessness of the abortion might not at all manifest itself to the perfect Aeons, the Father also again projects additionally one Aeon, viz., Staurus. And he being begotten great, as from a mighty and perfect father, and being projected for the guardianship and defence of the Aeons, becomes a limit of the Pleroma, having within itself all the thirty Aeons together, for these are they that had been projected. Now this (Aeon) is styled Horos, because he separates from the Pleroma the Hysterema that is outside. And (he is called) Metocheus, because he shares also in the Hysterema. And (he is denominated) Staurus, because he is fixed inflexibly and inexorably, so that nothing of the Hysterema can come near the Aeons who are within the Pleroma. Outside, then, Horos, (or) Metocheus, (or) Staurus, is the Ogdoad, as it is called, according to them, and is that Sophia which is outside the Pleroma, which (Sophia) Christ, who was additionally projected by Nous and Aletheia, formed and made a perfect Aeon so that in no respect she should be inferior in power to any of the Aeons within the Pleroma. Since, however, Sophia was formed outside, and it was not possible and equitable that Christ and the Holy Spirit, who were projected from Nous and Aletheia, should remain outside the Pleroma, Christ hurried away, and the Holy Spirit, from her who had had shape imparted to her, unto Nous and Aletheia within the Limit, in order that with the rest of the Aeons they might glorify the Father.
After, then, there ensued some one (treaty of) peace and harmony between all the Aeons within the Pleroma, it appeared expedient to them not only by a conjugal union to have magnified the Son, but also that by an offering of ripe fruits they should glorify the Father. Then all the thirty Aeons consented to project one Aeons, joint fruit of the Pleroma, that he might be (an earnest) of their union, and unanimity, and peace. And he alone was projected by all the Aeons in honour of the Father. This (one) is styled among them
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma. These (matters), then, took place within the Pleroma in this way. And the
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma was projected, (that is,) Jesus,— for this is his name—the great High Priest. Sophia, however, who was outside the Pleroma in search of Christ, who had given her form, and of the Holy Spirit, became involved in great terror that she would perish, if he should separate from her, who had given her form and consistency. And she was seized with grief, and fell into a state of considerable perplexity, (while) reflecting who was he who had given her form, what the Holy Spirit was, whither he had departed, who it was that had hindered them from being present, who it was that had been envious of that glorious and blessed spectacle. While involved in sufferings such as these, she turns herself to prayer and supplication of him who had deserted her. During the utterance of her entreaties, Christ, who is within the Pleroma, had mercy upon (her), and all the rest of the Aeons (were similarly affected); and they send forth beyond the Pleroma
the Joint Fruit of the Pleroma as a spouse for Sophia, who was outside, and as a rectifier of those sufferings which she underwent in searching after Christ.
The Fruit, then, arriving outside the Pleroma, and discovering (Sophia) in the midst of those four primary passions, both fear and sorrow, and perplexity and entreaty he rectified her affections. While, however, correcting them, he observed that it would not be proper to destroy these, inasmuch as they are (in their nature) eternal, and peculiar to Sophia; and yet that neither was it seemly that Sophia should exist in the midst of such passions, in fear and sorrow, supplication (and) perplexity. He therefore, as an Aeons so great, and (as) offspring of the entire Pleroma, caused the passions to depart from her, and he made these substantially-existent essences. He altered fear into animal desire, and (made) grief material, and (rendered) perplexity (the passion) of demons. But conversion, and entreaty, and supplication, he constituted as a path to repentance and power over the animal essence, which is denominated right. The Creator (acted) from fear; (and) that is what, he says, Scripture affirms:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. For this is the beginning of the affections of Sophia, for she was seized with fear, next with grief, then with perplexity, and so she sought refuge in entreaty and supplication. And the animal essence is, he says, of a fiery nature, and is also termed by them the super-celestial Topos, and Hebdomad, and Moses also, he says, expresses himself thus:
The Lord your God is a burning and consuming fire. For he, likewise, wishes (to think) that it has been so written. There is, however, he says, a twofold power of the fire; for fire is all-consuming, (and) cannot he quenched. According, therefore, to this division, there exists, subject to death, a certain soul which is a sort of mediator, for it is a Hebdomad and Cessation. Genesis 2:2 For underneath the Ogdoad, where Sophia is, but above Matter, which is the Creator, a day has been formed, and the
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma. If the soul has been fashioned in the image of those above, that is, the Ogdoad, it became immortal and repaired to the Ogdoad, which is, he says, heavenly Jerusalem. If, however, it has been fashioned in the image of Matter, that is, the corporeal passions, the soul is of a perishable nature, and is (accordingly) destroyed.
As, therefore, the primary and greatest power of the animal essence came into existence, an image (of the only begotten Son); so also the devil, who is the ruler of this world, constitutes the power of the material essence, as Beelzebub is of the essence of demons which emanates from anxiety. (In consequence of this,) Sophia from above exerted her energy from the Ogdoad to the Hebdomad. For the Demiurge, they say, knows nothing at all, but is, according to them, devoid of understanding, and silly, and is not conscious of what he is doing or working at. But in him, while thus in a state of ignorance that even he is producing, Sophia wrought all sorts of energy, and infused vigour (into him). And (although Sophia) was really the operating cause, he himself imagines that he evolves the creation of the world out of himself: whence he commenced, saying,
I am God, and beside me there is no other.
The quaternion, then, advocated by Valentinus, is
a source of the everlasting nature having roots; and Sophia (is the power) from whom the animal and material creation has derived its present condition. But Sophia is called
Spirit, and the Demiurge
Soul, and the Devil
the ruler of this world, and Beelzebub
the (ruler) of demons. These are the statements which they put forward. But further, in addition to these, rendering, as I have previously mentioned, their entire system of doctrine (akin to the) arithmetical (art), (they determine) that the thirty Aeons within the Pleroma have again, in addition to these, projected other Aeons, according to the (numerical) proportion (adopted by the Pythagoreans), in order that the Pleroma might be formed into an aggregate, according to a perfect number. For how the Pythagoreans divided (the celestial sphere) into twelve and thirty and sixty parts, and how they have minute parts of diminutive portions, has been made evident.
In this manner these (followers of Valentinus) subdivide the parts within the Pleroma. Now likewise the parts in the Ogdoad have been subdivided, and there has been projected Sophia, which is, according to them, mother of all living creatures, and the
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma, (who is) the Logos, (and other Aeons,) who are celestial angels that have their citizenship in Jerusalem which is above, which is in heaven. For this Jerusalem is Sophia, she (that is) outside (the Pleroma), and her spouse is the
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma. And the Demiurge projected souls; for this (Sophia) is the essence of souls. This (Demiurge), according to them, is Abraham, and these (souls) the children of Abraham. From the material and divilish essence the Demiurge fashioned bodies for the souls. This is what has been declared:
And God formed man, taking clay from the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and man was made into a living soul. Genesis 2:7 This, according to them, is the inner man, the natural (man), residing in the material body: Now a material (man) is perishable, incomplete, (and) formed out of the devilish essence. And this is the material man, as it were, according to them an inn, or domicile, at one time of soul only, at another time of soul and demons, at another time of soul and Logoi. And these are the Logoi that have been dispersed from above, from the
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma and (from) Sophia, into this world. And they dwell in an earthly body, with a soul, when demons do not take up their abode with that soul. This, he says, is what has been written in Scripture:
On this account I bend my knees to the God and Father and Lord of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God would grant you to have Christ dwelling in the inner man, Ephesians 3:14-18 — that is, the natural (man), not the corporeal (one),—
that you may be able to understand what is the depth, which is the Father of the universe,
and what is the breadth, which is Staurus, the limit of the Pleroma,
or what is the length, that is, the Pleroma of the Aeons. Wherefore, he says, the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; 1 Corinthians 2:14 but folly, he says, is the power of the Demiurge, for he was foolish and devoid of understanding, and imagined himself to be fabricating the world. He was, however, ignorant that Sophia, the Mother, the Ogdoad, was really the cause of all the operations performed by him who had no consciousness in reference to the creation of the world.
All the prophets, therefore, and the law spoke by means of the Demiurge—a silly god, he says, (and themselves) fools, who knew nothing. On account of this, he says, the Saviour observes:
All that came before me are thieves and robbers. John 10:8 And the apostle (uses these words) Colossians 1:26 For none of the prophets, he says, said anything concerning the things of which we speak; for (a prophet) could not but be ignorant of all (these) things, inasmuch as they certainly had been uttered by the Demiurge only. When, therefore, the creation received completion, and when after (this) there ought to have been the revelation of the sons of God— that is, of the Demiurge, which up to this had been concealed, and in which obscurity the natural man was hid, and had a veil upon the heart—when (it was time), then, that the veil should be taken away, and that these mysteries should be seen, Jesus was born of Mary the virgin, according to the declaration (in Scripture),
The Holy Ghost will come upon you— Sophia is the Spirit—
and the power of the Highest will overshadow you— the Highest is the Demiurge—
wherefore that which shall be born of you shall be called holy. Luke 1:35 For he has been generated not from the highest alone, as those created in (the likeness of) Adam have been created from the highest alone— that is, (from) Sophia and the Demiurge. Jesus, however, the new man, (has been generated) from the Holy Spirit— that is, Sophia and the Demiurge— in order that the Demiurge may complete the conformation and constitution of his body, and that the Holy Spirit may supply his essence, and that a celestial Logos may proceed from the Ogdoad being born of Mary.
Concerning this (Logos) they have a great question among them— an occasion both of divisions and dissension. And hence the doctrine of these has become divided: and one doctrine, according to them, is termed Oriental, and the other Italian. They from Italy, of whom is Heracleon and Ptolemaeus, say that the body of Jesus was (an) animal (one). And on account of this, (they maintain) that at his baptism the Holy Spirit as a dove came down— that is, the Logos of the mother above, (I mean Sophia)— and became (a voice) to the animal (man), and raised him from the dead. This, he says, is what has been declared:
He who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal and natural bodies. Romans 8:11-12 For loam has come under a curse;
for, says he,
dust you are, and unto dust shall you return. Genesis 3:19 The Orientals, on the other hand, of whom is Axionicus and Bardesianes, assert that the body of the Saviour was spiritual; for there came upon Mary the Holy Spirit— that is, Sophia and the power of the highest. This is the creative art, (and was vouchsafed) in order that what was given to Mary by the Spirit might be fashioned.
Let, then, those (heretics) pursue these inquiries among themselves, (and let others do so likewise,) if it should prove agreeable to anybody else to investigate (such points. Valentinus) subjoins, however, the following statement: That the trespasses appertaining to the Aeons within (the Pleroma) had been corrected; and likewise had been rectified the trespasses appertaining to the Ogdoad, (that is,) Sophia, outside (the Pleroma); and also (the trespasses) appertaining to the Hebdomad (had been rectified). For the Demiurge had been taught by Sophia that He is not Himself God alone, as He imagined, and that except Himself there is not another (Deity). But when taught by Sophia, He was made to recognise the superior (Deity). For He was instructed by her, and initiated and indoctrinated into the great mystery of the Father and of the Aeons, and divulged this to none. This is, as he says, what (God) declares to Moses:
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and my name I have not announced to them; that is, I have not declared the mystery, nor explained who is God, but I have preserved the mystery which I have heard from Sophia in secrecy with myself. When, then, the trespasses of those above had been rectified, it was necessary, according to the same consequence, that the (transgressions) here likewise should obtain rectification. On this account Jesus the Saviour was born of Mary that he might rectify (the trespasses committed) here; as the Christ who, having been projected additionally from above by Nous and Aletheia, had corrected the passions of Sophia— that is, the abortion (who was) outside (the Pleroma). And, again, the Saviour who was born of Mary came to rectify the passions of the soul. There are therefore, according to these (heretics), three Christs: (the first the) one additionally projected by Nous and Aletheia, along with the Holy Spirit; and (the second) the
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma, spouse of Sophia, who was outside (the Pleroma). And she herself is likewise styled Holy Spirit, but one inferior to the first (projection). And the third (Christ is) He who was born of Mary for the restoration of this world of ours.
I think that the heresy of Valentinus which is of Pythagorean (origin), has been sufficiently, indeed more than sufficiently, delineated. It therefore seems also expedient, that having explained his opinions, we should desist from (further) refutation (of his system). Plato, then, in expounding mysteries concerning the universe, writes to Dionysius expressing himself after some such manner as this:
I must speak to you by riddles, in order that if the letter may meet with any accident in its leaves by either sea or land, he who reads (what falls into his hands) may not understand it. For so it is. All things are about the King of all, and on his account are all things, and he is cause of all the glorious (objects of creation). The second is about the second, and the third about the third. But pertaining to the King there is none of those things of which I have spoken. But after this the soul earnestly desires to learn what sort these are, looking upon those things that are akin to itself, and not one of these is (in itself) sufficient. This is, O son of Dionysius and Doris, the question (of yours) which is a cause of all evil things. Nay, but rather the solicitude concerning this is innate in the soul; and if one does not remove this, he will never really attain truth. But what is astonishing in this matter, listen. For there are men who have heard these things— (men) furnished with capacities for learning, and furnished with capacities of memory, and persons who altogether in every way are endued with an aptitude for investigation with a view to inference. (These are) at present aged speculators. And they assert that opinions which at one time were credible are now incredible, and that things once incredible are now the contrary. While, therefore, turning the eye of examination towards these (inquiries), exercise caution, lest at any time you should have reason to repent in regard of those things should they happen in a manner unbecoming to your dignity. On this account I have written nothing concerning these (points); nor is there any treatise of Plato's (upon them), nor ever shall there be. The observations, however, now made are those of Socrates, conspicuous for virtue even while he was a young man.
Valentinus, falling in with these (remarks), has made a fundamental principle in his system
the King of all, whom Plato mentioned, and whom this heretic styles Pater, and Bythos, and Proarche over the rest of the Aeons. And when Plato uses the words,
what is second about things that are second, Valentinus supposes to be second all the Aeons that are within the limit (of the Pleroma, as well as) the limit (itself). And when Plato uses the words, what is third about what is third, he has (constituted as third) the entire of the arrangement (existing) outside the limit and the Pleroma. And Valentinus has elucidated this (arrangement) very succinctly, in a psalm commencing from below, not as Plato does, from above, expressing himself thus:
I behold all things suspended in air by spirit, and I perceive all things wafted by spirit; the flesh (I see) suspended from soul, but the soul shining out from air, and air depending from Aether, and fruits produced from Bythus, and the foetus borne from the womb. Thus (Valentinus) formed his opinion on such (points). Flesh, according to these (heretics), is matter which is suspended from the soul of the Demiurge. And soul shines out from air; that is, the Demiurge emerges from the spirit, (which is) outside the Pleroma. But air springs forth from Aether; that is, Sophia, which is outside (the Pleroma, is projected from the Pleroma) which is within the limit, and (from) the entire Pleroma (generally). And from Bythus fruits are produced; (that is,) the entire projection of the Aeons is made from the Father. The opinions, then, advanced by Valentinus have been sufficiently declared. It remains for us to explain the tenets of those who have emanated from-his school, though each adherent (of Valentinus) entertains different opinions.
A certain (heretic) Secundus, born about the same time with Ptolemaeus, expresses himself thus: (he says) that there is a right tetrad and a left tetrad,— namely, light and darkness. And he affirms that the power which withdrew and laboured under deficiency, was not produced from the thirty Aeons, but from the fruits of these. Some other (heretic), however— Epiphanes, a teacher among them— expresses himself thus:
The earliest originating principle was inconceivable, ineffable, and unnameable; and he calls this Monotes. And (he maintains) that there co-exists with this (principle) a power which he denominates Henotes. This Henotes and this Monotes, not by projection (from themselves), sent forth a principle (that should preside) over all intelligibles; (and this was) both unbegotten and invisible, and he styles it a Monad.
With this power co-exists a power of the same essence, which very (power) I call Unity. These four powers sent forth the remainder of the projections of the Aeons. But others, again, denominate the chief and originating Ogdoad, (which is) fourth (and) invisible, by the following names: first, Proarche; next, Anennoetus; third, Arrhetus; and fourth, Aoratus. And that from the first, Proarche, was projected by a first and fifth place, Arche; and from Anennoetus, by a second and sixth place, Acataleptus; and from Arrhetus, by a third and seventh place, Anonomastus; and from Aoratus, Agennetus, a complement of the first Ogdoad. They wish that these powers should exist before Bythus and Sige. Concerning, however, Bythus himself, there are many different opinions. Some affirm him to be unwedded, neither male nor female; but others (maintain) that Sige, who is a female, is present with him, and that this constitutes the first conjugal union.
But the followers of Ptolemaeus assert that (Bythus) has two spouses, which they call likewise dispositions, viz., Ennoia and Thelesis (conception and volition). For first the notion was conceived of projecting anything; next followed, as they say, the will to do so. Wherefore also these two dispositions and powers— namely, Ennoia and Thelesis— being, as it were, mingled one with the other, there ensued a projection of Monogenes and Aletheia by means of a conjugal union. And the consequence was, that visible types and images of those two dispositions of the Father came forth from the invisible (Aeons), viz., from Thelema, Nous, and from Ennoia, Aletheia. And on this account the image of the subsequently generated Thelema is (that of a) male; but (the image) of the unbegotten Ennoia is (that of a) female, since volition is, as it were, a power of conception. For conception always cherished the idea of a projection, yet was not of itself at least able to project itself, but cherished the idea (of doing so). When, however, the power of volition (would be present), then it projects the idea which had been conceived.
A certain other teacher among them, Marcus, an adept in sorcery, carrying on operations partly by sleight of hand and partly by demons, deceived many from time to time. This (heretic) alleged that there resided in him the mightiest power from invisible and unnameable places. And very often, taking the Cup, as if offering up the Eucharistic prayer, and prolonging to a greater length than usual the word of invocation, he would cause the appearance of a purple, and sometimes of a red mixture, so that his dupes imagined that a certain Grace descended and communicated to the potion a blood-red potency. The knave, however, at that time succeeded in escaping detection from many; but now, being convicted (of the imposture), he will be forced to desist from it. For, infusing secretly into the mixture some drug that possessed the power of imparting such a colour (as that alluded to above), uttering for a, considerable time nonsensical expressions, he was in the habit of waiting, (in expectation) that the (drug), obtaining a supply of moisture, might be dissolved, and, being intermingled with the potion, might impart its colour to it. The drugs, however, that possess the quality of furnishing this effect we have previously mentioned in the book on magicians. And here we have taken occasion to explain how they make dupes of many, and thoroughly ruin them. And if it should prove agreeable to them to apply their attention with greater accuracy to the statement made by us, they will become aware of the deceit of Marcus.
And this (Marcus), infusing (the aforesaid) mixture into a smaller cup, was in the habit of delivering it to a woman to offer up the Eucharistic prayer, while he himself stood by, and held (in his hand) another empty (chalice) larger than that. And after his female dupe had pronounced the sentence of Consecration, having received (the cup from her), he proceeded to infuse (its contents) into the larger (chalice), and, pouring them frequently from one cup to the other, was accustomed at the same time to utter the following invocation:
Grant that the inconceivable and ineffable Grace which existed prior to the universe, may fill your inner man, and make to abound in you the knowledge of this (grace), as She disseminates the seed of the mustard-tree upon the good soil. And simultaneously pronouncing some such words as these, and astonishing both his female dupe and those that are present, he was regarded as one performing a miracle; while the larger was being filled from the smaller chalice, in such a way as that (the contents), being superabundant, flowed over. And the contrivance of this (juggler) we have likewise explained in the aforesaid (fourth) book, where we have proved that very many drugs, when mingled in this way with liquid substances, are endued with the quality of yielding augmentation, more particularly when diluted in wine. Now, when (one of these impostors) previously smears, in a clandestine manner, an empty cup with any one of these drugs, and shows it (to the spectators) as if it contained nothing, by infusing into it (the contents) from the other cup, and pouring them back again, the drug, as it is of a flatulent nature, is dissolved by being blended with the moist substance. And the effect of this was, that a superabundance of the mixture ensued, and was so far augmented, that what was infused was put in motion, such being the nature of the drug. And if one stow away (the chalice) when it has been filled, (what has been poured into it) will after no long time return to its natural dimensions, inasmuch as the potency of the drug becomes extinct by reason of the continuance of moisture. Wherefore he was in the habit of hurriedly presenting the cup to those present, to drink; but they, horrified at the same time, and eager (to taste the contents of the cup), proceeded to drink (the mixture), as if it were something divine, and devised by the Deity.
Such and other (tricks) this impostor attempted to perform. And so it was that he was magnified by his dupes, and sometimes he was supposed to utter predictions. But sometimes he tried to make others (prophesy), partly by demons carrying on these operations, and partly by practising sleight of hand, as we have previously stated. Hoodwinking therefore multitudes, he led on (into enormities) many (dupes) of this description who had become his disciples, by teaching them that they were prone, no doubt, to sin, but beyond the reach of danger, from the fact of their belonging to the perfect power, and of their being participators in the inconceivable potency. And subsequent to the (first) baptism, to these they promise another, which they call Redemption. And by this (other baptism) they wickedly subvert those that remain with them in expectation of redemption, as if persons, after they had once been baptized, could again obtain remission. Now, it is by means of such knavery as this that they seem to retain their hearers. And when they consider that these have been tested, and are able to keep (secret the mysteries) committed unto them, they then admit them to this (baptism). They, however, do not rest satisfied with this alone, but promise (their votaries) some other (boon) for the purpose of confirming them in hope, in order that they may be inseparable (adherents of their sect). For they utter something in an inexpressible (tone of) voice, after having laid hands on him who is receiving the redemption. And they allege that they could not easily declare (to another) what is thus spoken unless one were highly tested, or one were at the hour of death, (when) the bishop comes and whispers (it) into the (expiring one's) ear. And this knavish device (is undertaken) for the purpose of securing the constant attendance upon the bishop of (Marcus') disciples, as individuals eagerly panting to learn what that may be which is spoken at the last, by (the knowledge of) which the learner will be advanced to the rank of those admitted into the higher mysteries. And in regard of these I have maintained a silence for this reason, lest at any time one should suppose that I was guilty of disparaging these (heretics). For this does not come within the scope of our present work, only so far as it may contribute to prove from what source (the heretics) have derived the standing-point from which they have taken occasion to introduce the opinions advanced by them.
For also the blessed presbyter Irenaeus, having approached the subject of a refutation in a more unconstrained spirit, has explained such washings and redemptions, stating more in the way of a rough digest what are their practices. (And it appears that some of the Marcosians,) on meeting with (Irenaeus' work), deny that they have so received (the secret word just alluded to), but they have learned that always they should deny. Wherefore our anxiety has been more accurately to investigate, and to discover minutely what are the (instructions) which they deliver in the case of the first bath, styling it by some such name; and in the case of the second, which they denominate Redemption. But not even has this secret of theirs escaped (our scrutiny). For these opinions, however, we consent to pardon Valentinus and his school.
But Marcus, imitating his teacher, himself also feigns a vision, imagining that in this way he would be magnified. For Valentinus likewise alleges that he had seen an infant child lately born; and questioning (this child), he proceeded to inquire who it might be. And (the child) replied, saying that he himself is the Logos, and then subjoined a sort of tragic legend; and out of this (Valentinus) wishes the heresy attempted by him to consist. Marcus, making a similar attempt with this (heretic), asserts that the Tetrad came to him in the form of a woman—since the world could not bear, he says, the male (form) of this Tetrad, and that she revealed herself who she was, and explained to this (Marcus) alone the generation of the universe, which she never had revealed to any, either of gods or of men, expressing herself after this mode: When first the self-existent Father, He who is inconceivable and without substance, He who is neither male nor female, willed that His own ineffability should become realized in something spoken, and that His invisibility should become realized in form, He opened His mouth, and sent forth similar to Himself a Logos. And this (Logos) stood by Him, and showed unto Him who he was, viz., that he himself had been manifested as a (realization in) form of the Invisible One. And the pronunciation of the name was of the following description. He was accustomed to utter the first word of the name itself, which was Arche, and the syllable of this was (composed) of four letters. Then he subjoined the second (syllable), and this was also (composed) of four letters. Next he uttered the third (syllable), which was (composed) of ten letters; and he uttered the fourth (syllable), and this was (composed) of twelve letters. Then ensued the pronunciation of the entire name, (composed) of thirty letters, but of four syllables. And each of the elements had its own peculiar letters, and its own peculiar form, and its own peculiar pronunciation, as well as figures and images. And not one of these was there that beholds the form of that (letter) of which this was an element. And of course none of them could know the pronunciation of the (letter) next to this, but (only) as he himself pronounces it, (and that in such a way) as that, in pronouncing the whole (word), he supposed that he was uttering the entire (name). For each of these (elements), being part of the entire (name), he denominates (according to) its own peculiar sound, as if the whole (of the word). And he does not intermit sounding until he arrived at the last letter of the last element, and uttered it in a single articulation. Then he said, that the restoration of the entire ensued when all the (elements), coming down into the one letter, sounded one and the same pronunciation, and an image of the pronunciation he supposed to exist when we simultaneously utter the word Amen. And that these sounds are those which gave form to the insubstantial and unbegotten Aeon, and that those forms are what the Lord declared to be angels— the (forms) that uninterruptedly behold the face of the Father.
But the generic and expressed names of the elements he called Aeons, and Logoi, and Roots, and Seeds, and Pleromas, and Fruits. (And he maintains) that every one of these, and what was peculiar to each, is perceived as being contained in the name of
Ecclesia. And the final letter of the last element sent forth its own peculiar articulation. And the sound of this (letter) came forth and produced, in accordance with images of the elements, its own peculiar elements. And from these he says that things existing here were garnished, and the things antecedent to these were produced. The letter itself certainly, of which the sound was concomitant with the sound below, he says, was received up by its own syllable into the complement of the entire (name); but that the sound, as if cast outside, remained below. And that the element itself, from which the letter along with its own pronunciation descended below, he says, is (composed) of thirty letters, and that each one of the thirty letters contains in itself other letters, by means of which the title of the letter is named. And again, that the other (letters) are named by different letters, and the rest by different (ones still). So that by writing down the letters individually, the number would eventuate in infinity. In this way one may more clearly understand what is spoken. The element Delta, (he says,) has five letters in itself, (viz.), Delta, and Epsilon, and Lambda, and Tau, and Alpha; and these very letters are (written) by means of other letters. If, therefore, the entire substance of the Delta eventuates in infinity, (and if) different letters invariably produce different letters, and succeed one another, by how much greater than that element is the more enormous sea of the letters? And if one letter is thus infinite, behold the entire name's depth of the letters out of which the patient industry, nay, rather (I should say,) the vain toil of Marcus wishes that the Progenitor (of things) should consist! Wherefore also (he maintains) that the Father, who knew that He was inseparable from Himself, gave (this depth) to the elements, which he likewise denominates Aeons. And he uttered aloud to each one of them its own peculiar pronunciation, from the fact that one could not pronounce the entire.
And (Marcus alleged) that the Quaternion, after having explained these things, spoke as follows:
Now, I wish also to exhibit to you Truth herself, for I have brought her down from the mansions above, in order that you may behold her naked, and become acquainted with her beauty; nay, also that you may hear her speak, and may marvel at her wisdom. Observe, says the Quaternion,
then, first, the head above, Alpha (and long) O; the neck, B and P [si]; shoulders, along with hands, G and C [hi]; breasts, Delta and P [hi]; diaphragm, Eu; belly, Z and T; pudenda, Eta and S; thighs, T [h] and R; knees, Ip; calves, Ko; ankles, Lx [si]; feet, M and N. This is in the body of Truth, according to Marcus. This is the figure of the element; this the character of the letter. And he styles this element Man, and affirms it to be the source of every word, and the originating principle of every sound, and the realization in speech of everything that is ineffable, and a mouth of taciturn silence. And this is the body of (Truth) herself. But do you, raising aloft the conceiving power of the understanding, hear from the mouths of Truth (of) the Logos, who is Self-generator and Progenitor.
But, after uttering these words, (Marcus details) that Truth, gazing upon him, and opening her mouth, spoke the discourse (just-alluded to). And (he tells us) that the discourse became a name, and that the name was that which we know and utter, viz., Christ Jesus, and that as soon as she had named this (name) she remained silent. While Marcus, however, was expecting that she was about to say more, the Quaternion, again advancing into the midst, speaks as follows: You regarded as contemptible this discourse which you have heard from the mouth of Truth. And yet this which you know and seem long since to possess is not the name; for you have merely the sound of it, but are ignorant of the power. For Jesus is a remarkable name, having six letters, invoked by all belonging to the called (of Christ); whereas the other (name, that is, Christ,) consists of many parts, and is among the (five) Aeons of the Pleroma. (This name) is of another form and a different type, and is recognised by those existences who are connate with him, and whose magnitudes subsist with him continually.
Know, (therefore,) that these letters which with you are (reckoned at) twenty-four, are emanations from the three powers, and are representative of those (powers) which embrace even the entire number of the elements. For suppose that there are some letters that are mute— nine of them— of Pater and Aletheia, from the fact that these are mute— that is, ineffable and unutterable. And (again, assume) that there are other (letters that are) semi-vowels— eight of them— of the Logos and of Zoe, from the fact that these are intermediate between consonants and vowels, and receive the emanation of the (letters) above them, but the reflux of those below them. And (likewise take for granted) that there are vowels— and these are seven— of Anthropos and Ecclesia, inasmuch as the voice of Anthropos proceeded forth, and imparted form to the (objects of the) universe. For the sound of the voice produced figure, and invested them with it. From this it follows that there are Logos and Zoe, which have eight (semi-vowels); and Anthropos and Ecclesia, which have seven (vowels); and Pater and Aletheia, which have nine (mutes). But from the fact that Logos wanted (one of being an ogdoad), he who is in the Father was removed (from his seat on God's right hand), and came down (to earth). And he was sent forth (by the Father) to him from whom he was separated, for the rectification of actions that had been committed. (And his descent took place) in order that the unifying process, which is inherent in Agathos, of the Pleromas might produce in all the single power that emanates from all. And thus he who is of the seven (vowels) acquired the power of the eight (semi-vowels); and there were produced three topoi , corresponding with the (three) numbers (nine, seven, and eight)—(these topoi ) being ogdoads. And these three being added one to the other, exhibited the number of the twenty-four (letters). And (he maintains), of course, that the three elements—(which he himself affirms to be (allied) with the three powers by conjugal union, and which (by this state of duality) become six, and from which have emanated the twenty-four elements—being rendered fourfold by the Quaternion's ineffable word, produce the same number (twenty-four) with these. And these, he says, belong to Anonomastus. And (he asserts) that these are conveyed by the six powers into a similarity with Aoratus. And (he says) that there are six double letters of these elements, images of images, which, being reckoned along with the twenty-four letters, produce, by an analogical power, the number thirty.
And he says, as the result of this computation and that proportion, that in the similitude of an image He appeared who after the six days Himself ascended the mountain a fourth person, and became the sixth. And (he asserts) that He (likewise) descended and was detained by the Hebdomad, and thus became an illustrious Ogdoad. And He contains in Himself of the elements the entire number which He manifested, as He came to His baptism. (And the symbol of manifestation was) the descent of the dove, which is O [mega] and Alpha, and which by the number manifested (by these is) 801. And for this reason (he maintains) that Moses says that man was created on the sixth day. And (he asserts) that the dispensation of suffering (took place) on the sixth day, which is the preparation; (and so it was) that on this (day) appeared the last man for the regeneration of the first man. And that the beginning and end of this dispensation is the sixth hour, at which He was nailed to the (accursed) tree. For (he says) that perfect Nous, knowing the sixfold number to be possessed of the power of production and regeneration, manifested to the sons of light the regeneration that had been introduced into this number by that illustrious one who had appeared. Whence also he says that the double letters involve the remarkable number. For the illustious number, being intermingled with the twenty-four elements, produced the name (consisting) of the thirty letters.
He has, however, employed the instrumentality of the aggregate of the seven numbers, in order that the result of the self-devised (counsel) might be manifested. Understand, he says, for the present, that remarkable number to be Him who was formed by the illustrious one, and who was, as it were, divided, and remained outside. And He, through both His Own power and wisdom, by means of the projection of Himself, imparted, in imitation of the seven powers, animation to this world, so as to make it consist of seven powers, and constituted (this world) the soul of the visible universe. And therefore this one has resorted to such all operation as what was spontaneously undertaken by Himself; and these minister, inasmuch as they are imitations of things inimitable, unto the intelligence of the Mother. And the first heaven sounds Alpha, and the one after that E [psilon], and the third Eta, and the fourth, even that in the midst of the seven (vowels, enunciates) the power of Iota, and the fifth of O [micron], and the sixth of U [psilon], and the seventh and fourth from the central one, O [mega]. And all the powers, when they are connected together in one, emit a sound, and glorify that (Being) from whom they have been projected. And the glory of that sound is transmitted upwards to the Progenitor. And furthermore, he says that the sound of this ascription of glory being conveyed to the earth, became a creator and producer of terrestrial objects. And (he maintains) that the proof of this (may be drawn) from the case of infants recently born, whose soul, simultaneously with exit from the womb utters similarly this sound of each one of the elements. As, then, he says, the seven powers glorify the Logos, so also does the sorrowing soul in babes (magnify Him). And on account of this, he says, David likewise has declared,
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have perfected praise. And again, soul is involved in hardships, it utters no other exclamation than the O [mega], inasmuch as it is afflicted in order that the soul above, becoming aware of what is akin to herself (below), may send down one to help this (earthly soul).
And so far for these points. Respecting, however, the generation of the twenty-four elements, he expresses himself thus: that Henotes coexists with Monotes, and that from these issue two projections, viz., Monas and Hen, and that these being added together become four, for twice two are four. And again, the two and four (projections) being added together, manifested the number six; and these six made fourfold, produce the twenty-four forms. And these are the names of the first tetrad, and they are under stood as Holy of Holies, and cannot be expressed and they are recognised by the Son alone. These the Father knows which they are. Those names which with Him are pronounced in silence and with faith, are Arrhetus and Sige, Pater and Aletheia. And of this tetrad the entire number is (that) of twenty-four letters. For Arrhetus has seven elements, Sige five, and Pater five, and Aletheia seven. And in like manner also (is it with) the second tetrad; (for) Logos and Zoe. Anthropos and Ecclesia, exhibited the same number of elements. And (he says) that the expressed name— (that is, Jesus) — of the Saviour consists of six letters, but that His ineffable name, according to the number of the letters, one by one, consists of twenty-four elements, but Christ a Son of twelve. And (he says) that the ineffable (name) in Christ consists of thirty letters, and this exists, according to the letters l which are in Him, the elements being counted one by one. For the (name) Christ consists of eight elements; for Chi consists of three, and R [ho] of two, and EI of two, and I [ota], of four, S [igma] of five, and T [au] of three, and OU of two, and San of three. Thus the ineffable name in Christ consists, they allege, of thirty letters. And they assert that for this reason He utters the words,
I am Alpha and Omega, displaying the dove, which (symbolically) has this number, which is eight hundred and one.
Now Jesus possesses this ineffable generation. For from the mother of the universe, I mean the first tetrad, proceeded forth, in the manner of a daughter, the second tetrad. And it became an ogdoad, from which proceeded forth the decade; and thus was produced ten, and next eighteen. The decade, therefore, coming in along with the ogdoad, and rendering it tenfold, produced the number eighty; and again making eighty tenfold, generated the number eight hundred. And so it is that the entire number of letters that proceeded forth from ogdoad into decade is eight hundred and eighty-eight, which is Jesus; for the name Jesus, according to the number in letters, is eight hundred and eighty-eight. Now likewise the Greek alphabet has eight monads and eight decades, and eight hecatontads; and these exhibit the calculated sum of eight hundred and eighty-eight, that is, Jesus, who consists of all numbers. And that on this account He is called Alpha (and Omega), indicating His generation (to be) from all.
But concerning the creation of this (Jesus), he expresses himself thus: That powers emanating from the second tetrad fashioned Jesus, who appeared on earth, and that the angel Gabriel filled the place of the Logos, and the Holy Spirit that of Zoe, and the
Power of the Highest that of Anthropos, and the Virgin that of Ecclesia. And so it was, in Marcus' system, that the man (who appeared) in accordance with the dispensation was born through Mary. And when He came to the water, (he says) that He descended like a dove upon him who had ascended above and filled the twelfth number. And in Him resides the seed of these, that is, such as are sown along with Him, and that descend with (Him), and ascend with (Him). And that this power which descended upon Him, he says, is the seed of the Pleroma, which contains in itself both the Father and the Son, and the unnameable power of Sige, which is recognised through these and all the Aeons. And that this (seed) is the spirit which is in Him and spoke in Him through the mouth of the Son, the confession of Himself as Son of man, and of His being one who would manifest the Father; (and that) when this spirit came down upon Jesus, He was united with Him. The Saviour, who was of the dispensation, he says, destroyed death, whereas He made known (as) the Father Christ (Jesus). He says that Jesus, therefore, is the name of the man of the dispensation, and that it has been set forth for the assimilation and formation of Anthropos, who was about to descend upon Him; and that when He had received Him unto Himself, He retained possession of Him. And (he says) that He was Anthropos, (that) He (was) Logos, (that) He (was) Pater, and Arrhetus, and Sige, and Aletheia, and Ecclesia, and Zoe.
I trust, therefore, that as regards these doctrines it is obvious to all possessed of a sound mind, that (these tenets) are unauthoritative, and far removed from the knowledge that is in accordance with Religion, and are mere portions of astrological discovery, and the arithmetical art of the Pythagoreans. And this assertion, you who are desirous of learning shall ascertain (to be true, by a reference to the previous books, where,) among other opinions elucidated by us, we have explained these doctrines likewise. In order, however, that we may prove it a more clear statement, viz., that these (Marcosians) are disciples not of Christ but of Pythagoras, I shall proceed to explain those opinions that have been derived (by these heretics) from Pythagoras concerning the meteoric (phenomena) of the starts as far as it is possible (to do so) by an epitome.
Now the Pythagoreans make the following statements: that the universe consists of a Monad and Duad, and that by reckoning from a monad as far as four they thus generate a decade. And again, a duad coming forth as far as the remarkable (letter),— for instance, two and four and six—exhibited the (number) twelve. And again, if we reckon from the duad to the decade, thirty is produced; and in this are comprised the ogdoad, and decade, and dodecade. And therefore, on account of its having the remarkable (letter), the dodecade has concomitant with it a remarkable passion. And for this reason (they maintain) that when an error had arisen respecting the twelfth number, the sheep skipped from the flock and wandered away; for that the apostasy took place, they say, in like manner from the decade. And with a similar reference to the dodecade, they speak of the piece of money which, on losing, a woman, having lit a candle, searched for diligently. (And they make a similar application) of the loss (sustained) in the case of the one sheep out of the ninety and nine; and adding these one into the other, they give a fabulous account of numbers. And in this way, they affirm, when the eleven is multiplied into nine, that it produces the number ninety and nine; and on this account that it is said that the word Amen embraces the number ninety-nine. And in regard of another number they express themselves in this manner: that the letter Eta along with the remarkable one constitutes all ogdoad, as it is situated in the eighth place from Alpha. Then, again, computing the number of these elements without the remarkable (letter), and adding them together up to Eta, they exhibit the number thirty. For any one beginning from the Alpha to the Eta will, after subtracting the remarkable (letter), discover the number of the elements to be the number thirty. Since, therefore, the number thirty is unified from the three powers; when multiplied thrice into itself it produced ninety, for thrice thirty is ninety, (and this triad when multiplied into itself produced nine). In this way the Ogdoad brought forth the number ninety-nine from the first Ogdoad, and Decade, and Dodecade. And at one time they collect the number of this (trio) into an entire sum, and produce a triacontad; whereas at another time they subtract twelve, and reckon it at eleven. And in like manner, (they subtract) ten and make it nine. And connecting these one into the other, and multiplying them tenfold, they complete the number ninety-nine. Since, however, the twelfth Aeon, having left the eleven (Aeons above), and departing downwards, withdrew, they allege that even this is correlative (with the letters). For the figure of the letters teaches (us as much). For L is placed eleventh of the letters, and this L is the number thirty. And (they say) that this is placed according to an image of the dispensation above; since from Alpha, irrespective of the remarkable (letter), the number of the letters themselves, added together up to L, according to the augmentation of the letters with the L itself, produces the number ninety-nine. But that the L, situated in the eleventh (of the alphabet), came down to search after the number similar to itself, in order that it might fill up the twelfth number, and that when it was discovered it was filled up, is manifest from the shape itself of the letter. For Lambda, when it attained unto, as it were, the investigation of what is similar to itself, and when it found such and snatched it away, filled up the place of the twelfth, the letter M, which is composed of two Lambdas. And for this reason (it was) that these (adherents of Marcus), through their knowledge, avoid the place of the ninety-nine, that is, the Hysterema, a type of the left hand, and follow after the one which, added to ninety-nine, they say was transferred to his own right hand.
And by the Mother, they allege, were created first the four elements, which, they say, are fire, water, earth, air; and these have been projected as an image of the tetrad above; and reckoning the energies of these— for instance, as hot, cold, moist, dry— they assert that they accurately portray the Ogdoad. And next they compute ten powers thus. (There are, they say,) seven orbicular bodies, which they likewise call heavens. There is next a circle containing these within its compass, and this also they name an eighth heaven: and in addition to these, they affirm the existence of both a sun and moon. And these being ten in number, they say, are images of the invisible decade that (emanated) from Logos and Zoe. (They affirm,) however, that the dodecade is indicated by what is termed the zodiacal circle. For these twelve zodiacal signs, they say, most evidently shadowed forth the daughter of Anthropos and Ecclesia, namely the Dodecade. And since, he says, the upper heaven has been united from an opposite direction to the revolutionary motion, which is most rapid, of the entire (of the signs); and since (this heaven) within its cavity retards, and by its slowness counterpoises, the velocity of those (signs), so that in thirty years it accomplishes its circuit from sign to sign—they therefore assert that this (heaven) is an image of Horos, who encircles the mother of these, who has thirty names. And, again, (they affirm) that the moon, which traverses the heaven in thirty days, by reason of (these) days portrays the number of the Aeons. And (they say) that the sun, performing its circuit, and terminating its exact return to its first position in its orbit in twelve months, manifests the dodecade. And also (they say) that the days themselves, involving the measure of twelve hours, constitute a type of the empty dodecade; and that the circumference of the actual zodiacal circle consists of three hundred and sixty degrees, and that each zodiacal sign possesses thirty divisions. In this way, therefore, even by means of the circle, they maintain that the image is preserved of the connection of the twelve with the thirty. But, moreover, alleging that the earth was divided into twelve regions, and that according to each particular region it receives one power by the latter's being sent down from the heavens, and that it produces children corresponding in likeness unto the power which transmitted (the likeness) by emanation; (for this reason) they assert that earth is a type of the Dodecade above.
And in addition to these (points, they lay down) that the Demiurge of the supernal Ogdoad, desirous of imitating the indefinite, and everlasting, and illimitable (one), and (the one) not subject to the condition of time; and (the Demiurge) not being able to represent the stability and eternity of this (Ogdoad), on account of his being the fruit of the Hysterema, to this end appointed times, and seasons, and numbers, measuring many years in reference to the eternity of this (Ogdoad), thinking by the multitude of times to imitate its indefiniteness. And here they say, when Truth eluded his pursuit, that Falsehood followed close upon him; and that on account of this, when the times were fulfilled, his work underwent dissolution.
These assertions, then, those who are of the school of Valentinus advance concerning both the creation and the universe, in each case propagating opinions still more empty. And they suppose this to constitute productiveness (in their system), if any one in like manner, making some greater discovery, will appear to work wonders. And finding, (as they insinuate,) each of the particulars of Scripture to accord with the aforesaid numbers, they (attempt to) criminate Moses and the prophets, alleging that these speak allegorically of the measures of the Aeons. And inasmuch as these statements are trifling and unstable, it does not appear to me expedient to bring them before (the reader. This, however, is the less requisite,) as now the blessed presbyter Irenaeus has powerfully and elaborately refuted the opinions of these (heretics). And to him we are indebted for a knowledge of their inventions, (and have thereby succeeded in) proving that these heretics, appropriating these opinions from the Pythagorean philosophy, and from over-spun theories of the astrologers, cast an imputation upon Christ, as though He had delivered these (doctrines). But since I suppose that the worthless opinions of these men have been sufficiently explained, and that it has been clearly proved whose disciples are Marcus and Colarbasus, who were successors of the school of Valentinus, let us see what statement likewise Basilides advances.
Source. Translated by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050106.htm>.
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